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Lenoir County hosts free COVID testing, turkey giveaway, bill assistance, and more

Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 6:54 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Lines at testing sites all over the East have been bumper-to-bumper with people rushing to get a COVID-19 test ahead of Thanksgiving.

However, there was something unique about a testing site in Kinston. Not only were drivers able to pull up for a COVID-19 test, but some also received a turkey, help with rent and utilities, and health resources.

Kinston Mayor Don Hardy was in attendance.

“This is a big deal,” Hardy said, “As we’re going into the holiday season... we definitely wanted to be able to provide something and also give some folks the opportunity to be tested before they go amongst their loved ones.”

It’s called the Community Day, “People Helping People,” in Kinston. One of the organizers, Crystal Gwendo, says their organization helps people regularly, especially with rent and utility bills.

Her organization, Greene Lamp Community Action, partnered with United Providers of Health, KeyStone Management, and other county officials to make this happen.

And the community banded together from everywhere to help out. Lester Lyons is a lab technician who came from Charlotte.

“Coming from this area and being able to give back; anytime that you can do that, especially with something as important as COVID-19, it’s great for me to be here,” Lyons said.

And some in the Wingate Apartment Complex-area appreciate it. Juan Cortes lives in the neighborhood—so close, he walked up to for the testing.

“These days, especially with people not wearing their masks, I’d rather be safe than sorry,” Cortes said.

Cortes said he’s staying home, as his 80-year-old mother, who lives in New York, asked this of him.

Still, whether you’re testing to stay home like Cortes, or because you want to protect your family, Mayor Hardy says it never hurts to be sure, as Lenoir County nears 2,000 cases and over 50 deaths.

Those three W’s mean wearing a mask, washing your hands, and waiting at least six feet from others.

And Gwendo says if you need assistance with utilities and rent, you can reach out to Greene Lamp Community at 252-523-7770.

All of the around 80 turkeys were gone in less than 30 minutes, with the help of Kinston Fire Rescue.

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